#NZLEAD RECAP: Collaborative Leadership

Social media is potentially a powerful tool for connecting like-minded people and enabling collaborative leadership. Social media means that connections can be made between people on a wider scale and at a faster rate than has been previously possible. We only have to look at examples from Egypt and Tunisa to see the strength of this. However, the use of social media as tool to enable collaborative leadership in the workplace is relatively unexplored.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of information about how to get involved in social media and even examples of where it’s helped people connect and share knowledge. However, we have a scattergun way of using social media in the work place and doubts about its relevance. In light of this, I propose a more methodical approach.

An example of how to apply a structured approach to your social media strategy.

An example of how to apply a structured approach to your social media strategy.

Firstly, establish why you want to use it and thread this purpose through the way you approach it. This should also help identify what is going to give you the most value, which tools to use and how you’re going to use them. If you are a business looking at social tools for your employees establishing the purpose of it is even more important. Do you want them to connect with each other to share knowledge? Promote your brand with customers? Part of this is checking that it aligns with your culture. For example, if your workplace is somewhere that puts a lot of value on face-to-face interaction then using social tools may not be a great cultural fit. There may not be a lot of motivation to use it.

You need to make sure your employees are motivated to use social media. I find the Daniel Pink approach of autonomy, mastery and purpose as a framework for motivation helpful here. How is your social media approach going to enable the autonomy and mastery of you or the people you are implementing it for? The beautiful thing about social media is that it is easy to demonstrate your mastery and appreciate that of others. However, autonomy can be hampered by the social policies and culture of the organisation you work for. How does your social media policy enable social interaction?

Social media is not for everyone and is not appropriate in all circumstances. But if you are clearly articulating what purpose you are using it for then you can decide whether it is for you or not and, if you do use it for business purposes, effectively enable the collaborative leadership of your people.


#NZLEAD RECAP: Crisis Management

The recent Wellington earthquakes provided a good prompt to ensure we were all thinking about crisis management and having good plans in place. When asked what the first thing businesses needed to do in a crisis it was to communicate. It came out strongly amongst the participants:

Communication becomes the core of everything we do. In order to be a successful leader we need to be a good communicator and the same goes for having a successful crisis and contingency plan. Businesses can have the most comprehensive and detailed plans for when a crisis hits, but if the leader is not a good communicator the plan will quickly fall to the wayside.

At a time of a crisis it is important that your business leaders stand up and help employees through it providing a human element as well as the technical aspects. HR can provide advice and support to leaders during a crisis to ensure they are including the human element and providing good support to their employees.

Earthquakes don’t happen everywhere, but it doesn’t mean a crisis can’t hit where you are. It is important that no matter where we are our businesses have a plan in place incase something happens. Be prepared and be prepared to help your leaders step in a time of chaos and need. HR aren’t the face of the organisation or the emotional rock of the organisation (as said by HR Tinker) but we are the department that helps managers manage relationships and therefore we are in a unique position to help them be the best they can be in a time of need.

#NZLEAD RECAP: Attracting and retaining talent through engagement


Thanks all for your spiritied contributions to last week’s #nzlead on attracting and retaining talent through engagement.  I thought there was a great mix of serious and provoking comment, humour and dry wit undoubtedly borne from personal experience.   Thanks must also go out to @pauljacobs4real for the role he played in performance managing my co-contributor @AndyBurner

The conversation kicked off with a discussion on how you best mitigate candidate perceptions of poor engagement through the recruitment and onboarding experience.  Overwhelmingly, the consensus seemed to be that honesty was always the best policy.  As it was pointed out, you just never know what will ultimately appeal to, and motivate, particular individuals.  Our gracious hostess pointed to the Daniel Pink concept of motivation  – a must watch if you haven’t already.

@blackbirdsthree in fact pointed out that a tough environment may actually be perceived as particularly attractive for the right person…

Question two, why organisations enter “Best Employer” surveys, unsurprisingly netted a range of responses.  @nzheadhunter and @carmenbailey both expressed a degree of uncertainty, perhaps mixed with a degree of healthy skepticism.  @HRManNZ, never afraid to call it as he sees it, perhaps captured it best however with his observation:

The observation was made by several contributors that there are now multiple awards with various winners.  What is the methodology? Are they genuine mechanisms for recognising engagement? Or more used as an employment branding tool? @alisonhallnz made a subtle, but significant contribution to this discussion, questioning whether regarding these awards as an actual “competition” actually misses the point:

The question was then asked, how do you effectively weaponise (I mean utilise) engagement as an employment branding tool.  Of course, winning one of the aforementioned prizes is great from a broader brand perspective, but overwhelmingly the feedback seemed to suggest that it is the actual employees that are the best advocates of the employment experience.  @NZrec summed it up with:

The conversation then moved to how you effectively get employees to own engagement, and what are the tools or levers that can be used to boost engagement.  The answers were quite varied on this particular point.  From:

(please note that @AaronDodd also suggested cattle prods, threats, intimidation and waterboarding…..)

Through to:

The variety of the comments again talks to the danger of adopting a “one approach fits all” method in terms of driving engagement.

@AndyBurner  made the observation that policy runs the danger of becoming a four letter word, reinforcing @HRManNZ’s earlier point that people inherantly seek an empowered and respectful working environment.   @HassanahRudd reinforced this view with a particularly pithy comment:

In summary, it seems that engagement is truly a tool for the attraction and retention of talent.  We seem aligned that driving engagement is critical, but often over-thought and over-complicated.  Without wanting to simplify the concept, it seems that treating people with respect, providing opportunities for empowerment and reward, and leading in a genuine and authentic way are all key to developing and sustaining a working environment that will sustain and encourage high performance talent.

Slightly off-topic, but a gem that I can’t help but highlight, came from @AaronDodd.  Not quite sure how it relates to engagment, but a timely reminder for us all.

Thanks again to @sterling_amanda for driving the discussion and ALL of last week’s participants and contributors.

Scott Duncan